There are three main coffee growing areas in Brazil: Mogiana, Sul Minas and Cerrado. These areas feature moderate sunlight and rain. The temperatures are steady year-round, ideal to grow Arabica and Robusta coffee trees. Arabica accounts for about 70% of total harvest. Robusta, a hardier plant that produces lower quality beans makes up the remaining 30%.
The Mogiana region: This is the area along the border of São Paulo and Minas Gerais states north of São Paulo. The Mogiana coffee region is named after the Companhia Mogiana Estrada de Ferro train line that ran through this area when trains and coffee were inseparable companions in commercial and community development. The Mogiana area is known for its rich red soil.
The Sul Minas region: This is the heart of Brazil’s coffee country. The rugged, rolling hills of Sul Minas, are located in the southern part of Minas Gerais state northeast of São Paulo.
The Cerrado region: This is a high, semi-arid plateau surrounding the city of Patrocinio, between São Paulo and Brasilia. This area is located in Brazil’s central high plains region.
Of all the coffees growing in these regions, Brazilian Santos Bourbon is Brazil’s best well known Specialty Coffee.
Santos is a market name referring to the port through which this coffee is traditionally shipped.
The Arabica coffee plants that produce this coffee came from the rich volcanic soils of the island of Bourbon, now called the Island of Reunion.
From a historical perspective, the island of Reunion is located in the Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar. This island was an important stopover on the East Indian trading route. When the Suez Canal opened, the island lost its importance.
Fortunately for Brazil, the trees imported from the island of Reunion took root very well and started one of Brazil’s main cash crops.
Brazilian Santos Bourbon is a light bodied coffee, with low acidity, a pleasing aroma and a mild, smooth flavor. Brazilian Santos Bourbon is dry-processed (dried inside the fruit) which is why some of the sweetness of the fruit carries into the cup.